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Hey, George!

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My next-door-neighbors, George and Karen, have two sons, but they moved out when I was about four years old. George and Karen are particularly loud people. It’s not that they yell, they just talk extremely loud. I always used to laugh at their drunken conversations that we could overhear easily, whether outside, indoors with the windows open, or even indoors with the windows closed. My favorite thing about George and Karen was that they had a pool that I used to think was the coolest thing ever and since their kids moved out, they invited my sister Maeve and I over almost every day. I spent every sunny summer day in their pool splashing around. Every day up until one encounter with George that has stuck with me and haunts me still.

I had been especially mischievous one summer afternoon at about 4 o’clock and my mother sent me to my room for a timeout. I always enjoyed timeouts, which sounds weird, but it’s true. I had this super sweet football toy box that I had stuffed so whenever I was in a timeout I would just play with my toys. I remember this day was soon after my ninth birthday because I had a bunch of brand-spanking-new presents that I was playing with, so being in a timeout was really no big deal to me.

It was a beautiful day outside, I remember, and I had my window open all the way. Right outside my window I could see the door to George and Karen’s house that they used when going to and from the pool. Since Maeve and I weren’t in the pool that day (Maeve wouldn’t go alone; she was scared of George) and I knew the other neighborhood kids who got invited occasionally were out of town, I was wondering who I heard making all the ruckus in the pool. I was distracted from my cool new gadgets to take a peak out the window when I heard the gate to the pool open and heard someone coming.

It was George. He had a towel wrapped tightly around his waist. I was about ready to greet him out my window when he was caught off guard by a squirrel. So off guard that his towel slipped. He was not wearing any swim trunks. I saw everything.

I was absolutely horrified. I mean the nine year old me knew what a man looked like but not a fat man. Not George. Not anyone other than me. And I didn’t want to.

Seeing him like that, and knowing that he had been in the pool like that made me uncomfortable. I got swimming lessons from his son in that pool—that same pool that he had been skinny-dipping in for who knows how long. I opted not to go in the pool anymore. He still calls during the summertime, probably wanting to ask if Maeve and I want to go in the pool, but the vision of George, all of George, is permanently stuck in my memory. I thank God for Caller ID and ignore all of his calls to join him in skinnydipping.





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